She had the fantasy of a brokered convention in which John Edwards picks the candidate. So did Randi Rhodes. Both were disappointed and Maddow is outright angry.
Maddow says she was taking seriously Edwards’s stuff about sticking in it till the end and ‘not giving in’ and so forth. Thus we have a clue where her affective disturbance is coming from—because surely John Edwards quitting in the current circumstances isn’t justification. What did Rachel do wrong? She evaluated John Edwards’s words, in excessively literal fashion, as more important than plain facts. Even Dennis Kucinich dropped out this time, despite similar words from him. Last time around, Edwards dropped out despite similar words. Fact is, this is standard language for politicians and in general it means essentially nothing except ‘Keep your chin up’. However it is also pushes people’s happy buttons, and when the euphoric rush stops coming a consequence can be disillusionment.
Making this reversal of order of importance especially disconcerting is that Rachel Maddow has a PhD/DPhil in political science (from Oxford, where she was a Rhodes scholar). If anybody should have known better, it would have been Rachel Maddow. But so it goes with reversals of order of importance: they are habitual, and it takes more than book-learning to overcome them. If I remember correctly, Maddow also has displayed susceptibility to Barack Obama’s content-free language.
Such abuse of words by politicians leads inevitably to disillusionment in their supporters. I call this abuse because it runs contrary to my principle that a politician’s speech should improve or at least not harm the listener’s mental-emotional condition.